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How to Grow and Care for Scarlet Runner Bean

Annuals, Phaseolus

If you're growing Scarlet Runner Beans, you're growing an edible ornamental. That's right! It's grown as a flowering plant and as a vegetable. Pretty cool, eh!?

Scarlet Runner beans, and other varieties of runner beans, are easy to grow. It's fast growing, climbing up to ten feet in a season. Plants will produce a profusion of pretty red and white flowers, amidst a heavy cover of leaves.

Plant Scarlet Runner Beans where they can grow up a fence, trellis, bamboo canes, or some other kind of support.

Plant Height: 6' - 9'

Plant Propagation:

Scarlet Runner Bean are grown from seeds. Germination is quick. In warm soil, they can emerge in under a week.

Sow Scarlet Runner Bean seeds directly into the garden after the last frost in your area. Beans are highly susceptible to frost in both spring and fall. So, do not plant them too early.

Days to Germination: 10 - 15

How to Grow:

Growing Scarlet Runner Beans is easy. Grow Scarlet Runner Bean in full sun. Plants prefer a rich, soil. Adding compost prior to planting, will help them to grow quickly to their full potential.

Scarlet Runner Beans require something to climb. Plant them along a fence or trellis. Trellises are a great way to display this attractive, flowering ornamental. After the blooming period, the beans will be accessible to harvest right from the trellis. In the vegetable garden, fences and bamboo poles are most often used.

Add ample amounts of water and fertilizer. The plants need both, to reach maximum growth. Just before the blooming period, apply a fertilizer high in phosphorous, to promote blooms.

Weed around the plants, especially while bean plants are young. Once they begin to climb, weeds will not block valuable sunlight. But, they will continue to compete for moisture and nutrients. A heavy layer of mulch around the plants will look good, and keep weeds down.

All bean plants are annuals that are very susceptible to frost. Cover them up whenever cold temperatures are expected.

Flowers Bloom: Summer to Fall

Harvesting Beans:

After the flowers have bloomed, bean pods will begin to grow.  If picked very young, the pods are edible. They get tough and stringy very quickly.

IMPORTANT: Most people who grow runner beans for the beans, will eat just the beans. Beans must be cooked before eating.  

Picking beans continuously, will promote new flowers and more beans!

Insects, Pests, and Disease:

Most varieties of beans are susceptible to a variety of insects, most notably beetles. They can be effectively treated with Sevin, Diazinon or a variety of other insecticides.

Bunnies love beans! Rabbits eat the tender new leaves. If there are rabbits in your area, a rabbit fence is not a nicety, it is a necessity. They will devastate a row of beans in a hurry, eating the tender new leaves. As new ones develop, they will come back for more.

More on  control of rabbits in the garden.

Deer love to nip leaves of beans. If deer are a problem in your area, they will be a problem with your runner beans.  Fencing or pest netting is the most effective control.

 More on how to control deer in gardens.

Fungus diseases are a frequent problem in wet or humid weather. Use a fungicide as needed.  Keeping the leaves dry, and avoiding overcrowding will help to keep disease from getting a start.


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